Turkmenistan is the Most Closed Country Again

Civic freedoms are being curtailed in a growing number of countries. Turkmenistan is the 6th most closed country in the world by the CIVICUS Monitor. The CIVICUS Monitor assesses the enabling conditions for civil society within countries and over time in 197 countries. It evaluates the degree of respect in policy and practice for the freedoms of association, peaceful assembly and expression and the extent to which the state protects these fundamental rights.

In 2022 Turkmenistan scored 10 out of 100, performing worse than Afghanistan (13), Iran (13), Tajikistan (19) and Uzbekistan (20). There are only 5 countries that ranked worse than Turkmenistan which are Eritrea, Saudi Arabia and Laos (7), Syria (4) and North Korea (2). Overall, there are 27 countries with closed civic space where two billion people are subject to extreme levels of repression.

According to CIVICUS

  • The Internet remains controlled and censored with the government limiting access to resources considered “anti-state” and cracking down on tools used to circumvent internet censorship and on people who use these tools.
  • The most common violations to civic freedoms in Turkmenistan are the detention of protesters, attacks on journalists and the harassment of civil society activists. The government in Turkmenistan continues to suppress dissent both at home and abroad. Authorities put pressure on Turkmen activists in Turkey, both directly and indirectly through their relatives in Turkmenistan. At the request of the authorities in Turkmenistan several Turkmen activists in Turkey were detained facing a threat of deportation.
  • While protests rarely happen in Turkmenistan, the authorities are quick to crush any attempts to mobilize. The report cites Azatlyk to illustrate an incident in 2022 where police threatened to shoot a group of people who gathered to protest drastically increasing food prices in state stores and threatened to shoot at them.

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